Analyzing the impacts of forest disturbance on individual tree diameter increment across the US Lake States

  • Macklin J. Glasby
  • Matthew B. Russell
  • Grant M. Domke


Disturbances play a critical role in forest ecosystem dynamics. Disturbances cause changes in forest structure which in turn influence the species composition of the site and alter landscape patterns over time. The impacts of disturbance are seen over a broad spectrum of spatial scales and varying intensities, ranging from biotic agents such as insect and leaf disease outbreaks to abiotic agents such as a windstorm (a stand-replacing disturbance). This study utilized Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data collected between 1999 and 2014 in the US Lake States (Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) to examine the impacts that disturbances have on the growth of residual trees using species-specific diameter increment equations. Results showed that animal and weather damage were the most common disturbance agents and fires were the least common in the region. Results also indicated that while the diameter increment equations performed well on average (overprediction of 0.08 ± 1.98 cm/10 years in non-disturbed stands), when the data were analyzed by species and disturbance agent, the model equation was rarely validated using equivalence tests (underprediction of 0.30 ± 2.24 cm/10 years in non-disturbed stands). This study highlights the importance of monitoring forest disturbances for their impacts on forest growth and yield.


Tree growth Growth and yield Validation Forest Inventory and Analysis 



We thank Ram Deo, Chad Keyser, Jacob Muller, and two anonymous reviewers for their comments that improved this manuscript.

Funding information

This work was supported by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station (project 42-063).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Forest ResourcesUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  2. 2.Department of Forest ResourcesUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  3. 3.USDA Forest ServiceNorthern Research StationSt. PaulUSA

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